The Writer’s Block: Sought After Composer Andrew Joslyn Talks Hard Work, String Writing, and Hustling


Composer, songwriter, and performer Andrew Joslyn has labored with probably the most largest names in song—as you’ll see beneath—from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Mark Lanegan, Middle’s Nancy Wilson, Leslie Odom Jr., and The Head and the Middle. He additionally penned string preparations for the brand new Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air reboot.

If truth be told, Joslyn is without doubt one of the maximum sought-after string composers in standard song, providing his compositions on lots of the aforementioned artists’ songs. Right here, we stuck up with the musician to invite him about his writing procedure, how he’s connected up with those award-winning musicians, how a lot it takes to hustle to make a occupation, and a lot more.

American Songwriter: How did you get began in songwriting?  

Andrew Joslyn: I wrote my very own debut report firstly of 2015, and did everything of the topline [melody composition], manufacturing, orchestral preparations, and lyrics all alone.  I had years of being a gun for rent with pop arranging and as a consultation strings participant and contractor previous to that, so I had a large number of enjoy being within the studio, and dealing on chart-topping songs and items. It wasn’t till I went via all of the procedure alone (begin to end), that I actually were given a primary style of how one can move down the rabbit hollow of crafting a really perfect music. I were given signed with BMG a few years later and were given partnered up with a large number of writers in songwriting camps, and that’s the place I actually needed to hone the craft and make bigger my toolkit past conventional arranging and composition. 

AS: What do you consider is going into writing a success music?  

AJ: I consider within the energy of the topline, and that if you strip away the entire manufacturing, bells, and whistles, if the vocal line can stand by itself as a formidable, fascinating music on its own, then you could have one thing particular. Hit songs are any such peculiar thought because you don’t actually know what is going to seize the creativeness of the general public and transform viral, or what received’t. So, the most productive you’ll do is focal point at the pursuit of the craftsmanship of all of it. 

AS: Have you ever ever skilled author’s block and the way did you get previous it?  

AJ: For the closing couple of years, I’ve at all times been in scenarios the place I’m writing songs for a particular undertaking, and time is of the essence, so in the ones moments, there actually isn’t time to have author’s block. I check out and concentrate on the craft and procedure of creating the song throughout the time given, and generally, the ones constraints result in stunning effects. I simply attempt to agree with the method when taking part with different writers. 

After I attempt to write songs for myself, or for my very own initiatives, I hit author’s blocks snags so much. When the timeline is open-ended, I at all times to find myself suffering to complete a song. In that method, I’ve discovered that surroundings cut-off dates for stuff is the best way to transfer the needle in the best course and in truth end songs. 

AS: When running with different artists, what’s that spark, or the instant while you realize it’s going to be a excellent consultation or a really perfect music? 

AJ: If this can be a excellent hold from the beginning—additionally should you and the opposite songwriters within the consultation all agree at the “thought” of the music, and in addition agree on specializing in the sanctity of the music itself. It will get actually exhausting to collaborate with different writers if they’re simply serious about injecting themselves right into a music, only for the sake of it, and having their egos held in upper regard than the music itself. I feel as soon as you’re in a room of execs, they’ve checked their egos on the door, and the vibe is excellent, it’s only an issue of time for that ’spark’ to simply take hang and lend a hand the consultation take off. 

AS: Is it exhausting to let a music move? 

AJ: I attempt to now not get too treasured with stuff I paintings on. There’s at all times a subsequent time. There’s a advantageous steadiness of having a music to a degree of perfection, however you’ll kill one thing stunning by means of overthinking it. 

AS: What used to be the largest turning level in taking your songwriting to the following stage? 

AJ: I used to need to overdo the manufacturing theatrics aspect of creating the songs large and epic, and overwhelming the music itself, however have realized again and again, that the phrases and vocal melody wish to at all times come first it doesn’t matter what. After I write orchestral preparations, I at all times attempt to ensure that I carve the entire orchestra across the vocals, in a actually stunning symbiotic courting. 

I feel one of the vital largest turning issues regardless that is when I used to be introduced in to co-write Leslie Odom Jr.’s first album Mr. down at Skywalker Ranch in California again in 2019. I met probably the most best writers within the business at this time and being within the room with them, and collaboratively running in combination on Leslie’s report used to be so life-changing. There used to be no ego and everybody used to be so giving in their abilities, and all of us discovered the most productive areas the place our abilities helped the most productive with the full undertaking. There used to be a unique focal point, everybody falling in line, and an overabundance of affection and exuberance to make the most productive artwork conceivable. I think like that have has set the bar with each more thing I’ve labored on since. 

AS: Inform me concerning the songwriting procedure in your contemporary collaboration at the new theme music for the remake of The Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air? 

AJ: The manufacturer Ben Allen and rapper Simple McCoy got here as much as my house recording studio for that music, and I tracked and organized a ton of strings at the music proper there with them within the room. On the time I had no concept that it will probably have the lifestyles it has now because the theme for The Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air, and I used to be simply satisfied to be excited about its introduction with a really perfect staff of writers. 

AS: What are your maximum noteworthy achievements lately, on your personal thoughts? 

AJ: My number one occupation within the business remains to be as an orchestral manufacturer, pop arranger, so my most up-to-date achievements had been in that international. I had a significant display with Nancy Wilson (from Middle) with the Seattle Symphony, and am about to accomplish with The Head and the Middle on Jimmy Fallon 

A few months in the past I jumped into a brand new writing camp for a brand new album for Leslie Odom Jr., and I’m actually inspired and keen on the songs that the writing staff got here up with for that undertaking—there’s a song or two in that batch which I think are probably the most very best I’ve completed so far. Best time will inform regardless that if they’ll in the end make it onto the album or now not. Regardless, it will be a veritable gem of a report, and I’m simply proud to had been excited about its construction. 

Photograph courtesy Andrew Joslyn